Wexford County Council to get tough on ‘creeping dereliction’ as rats seen in prominent vacant building

Colman Doyle (Shop 3)

Colman Doyle (Shop 2)

Cllr Leonard Kelly.

Pádraig ByrneWexford People

Wexford County Council is set to get tough with the owners of vacant buildings around Wexford town centre who are allowing their buildings fall into a state of disrepair.

Independent councillor Leonard Kelly has regularly raised the issue of “creeping dereliction” in Wexford town in the past, with a large number of vacant buildings on South Main Street a particular source of concern.

Cllr Kelly has now confirmed that following a walk-around with the new District Manager Anthony Bailey and planning officials, six properties which are falling into disrepair in the town centre are now being prioritised and the local authority is to engage with the owners, if necessary using powers afforded to them under the dereliction act.

While at this stage in the process, Cllr Kelly and Wexford County Council are declining to name which buildings are being prioritised, a walk around town would probably provide an idea as to which ones are being targeted.

"I had gone directly to planning and asked them to use the dereliction act in relation to some of these buildings,” Cllr Kelly said. “I’m happy to see that some buildings have been identified as a priority and that there’s finally some movement on this. I’m hopeful that the owners will step up and do what needs to be done with these buildings.

"It’s really disappointing for me to see that owners of prominent properties in various areas, who have the wherewithal to maintain them, just aren’t doing it. They need to step up.”

The passing of Colette Doyle saw several prominent South Main Street buildings close overnight more than two years ago and these are contributing greatly to the areas woes. The properties are still understood to be going through the probate process and Cllr Kelly says there still seems to be no resolution in sight, as the buildings fall further into disrepair.

Concerns have even been raised that rats have reportedly been seen running around inside one of the buildings, where stock still sits on the shelves untouched since the day it closed.

"It seems that those buildings are still tangled up from a legal point of view,” Cllr Kelly said. “As far as I’m aware, things haven’t moved on too much. Concerns were raised with me around an issue with vermin running around one of those buildings and I've brought that to the attention of the council. If there’s an issue there, that will have to be raised with the HSE.”

With Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann due to take over town next summer, Cllr Kelly wants to see these dereliction issues sorted as soon as possible.

"We don’t want to see a big rush next year before the Fleadh arrives,” he said. “This is something that needs to be done and addressed now for the people of Wexford town.”

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